is a futuristic comment made by Russian-born American science-fiction
writer Isaac Asimov (1920-1999) in his story titled "The Feeling
of Power (1958)". People will get used to computing machines,
devices, and calculators in such a distant future that they will
eventually forget 4-simple math operations. During a galactic war,
all of these devices will disappear, in the end they will "reverse
engineer" and find it again in time. In the year 1958 this story
was released, there were no computers, no calculators.
In the past week, in one
of Turkey's leading a major university engineering faculties, the
graduate students are entering an exam.
Their professor forbids
to use iPhone and all simple calculators.
"You can answer all
the questions with normal 4-simple math operations, put only 2 digits
after the comma, and write the answer"
The exam is over, the
papers are collected. Professor reads the exam papers, only two
people in a class of 30 people can make the proper math transactions.
Most of them can only do addition and subtraction, but not
multiplication and division. This is not only in Turkey. It is also
valid in many other countries, since people forget to make basic
calculations and concentrate their attention to upper level problems.
When I finished school
and started to work, there was only a simple 4-operation calculator
in the office. We used each other in turn. Later in 1984, while
working for a private company in the marketing department, there was
no calculator. He made all the steam boiler calculations manually on
paper. I asked the Boss once for a calculator, he refused to buy. He
did not get me a calculator, but there was a big screen workstation
on his desk, he did not know how to use. You can still make 4-simple
math operations with your pencil on a sheet of blank paper, right?
March 25, 2018
Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department
(1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV
companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail
design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power
plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy
analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software
expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities
and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber
of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.
article is written for "EurasiaReview" web site release.